Recent Research Projects
Truth, Trust, and Scientific Uncertainty: Examining Trust in Experts, Mainstream and Counter-Mainstream Media Across the Pandemic
Trust in mainstream institutions such as the CDC and scientists has been on the decline since the beginning of the pandemic, which may be linked to less precautionary behavior. This study examined trust in mainstream and counter-mainstream sources across the COVID-19 pandemic, and how that trust was related to precautionary health behaviors. Data from three years of the pandemic were collected: data from April 3rd-7th, 2020, were drawn from an open-access dataset (Ballew et al., 2020; Goldberg et al., 2020) while data from 2021 and 2022 were collected from participants in an online survey. Participants were asked how much they trust information from various sources (e.g., the CDC, Fox News, etc.), how often they wear a mask in public, how often they follow social distancing guidelines, and whether they received the COVID-19 vaccine. By grouping participants according to their political affilitation (i.e., Democrat or Republican), we examined how much people trust information from different sources, and how that trust is related to their responses to CDC recommendations for stopping the spread of COVID-19.
We found that the relationship between trust in expert sources vs. Fox News and mask-wearing flipped in early April 2020: before the CDC started recommending mask-wearing for the general public, people who trusted less in experts and more in Fox News reported wearing a mask frequently. In the days following the CDC's adoption of mask-wearing as part of the COVID-19 guidelines, that relationship dissappeared. Then, in early 2021, the relationship re-appeared in the opposite direction: those who trust less in experts and more in Fox News reported less mask-wearing.
what this says about fox's positioning against mainstream sources of info
Click here to view this study presented on a poster by Andrew Dawson!
Like Molasses in an Hourglass: A Mixed-Methods Study of Subjective Time and Well-Being over Two Years of the COVID-19 Pandemic
When COVID-19 hit, many people felt time stop. Or speed up. Or become hazy, repetitive, paradoxical, or a little bit of everything! In this study, we asked participants to reflect on their experience of time at the first and second anniversaries of the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e., March 11th, 2021, and March 11th, 2022, respectively). We included measures of subjective duration (how fast or slow time seems to be moving), subjective distance (how close or far an event feels in the past/future), time emptiness (the feeling of having too much time) and time urgency (the feeling of having not enough time). We also asked participants about how they were filling their time, and about their well-being over the course of the pandemic. Overall, participants felt that time passed very slowly in the first year of the pandemic (2020-2021) compared to the year before (2019-2020) or the year after (2021-2022). Participants who felt like they had too much time on their hands (time emptiness) reported lower well-being; however, investing time in therapeutic activities such as physical activity, recreation and hobbies, and even socializing remotely (over Zoom, social media, etc.) can reduce time emptiness to give well-being a boost.
Click here to view this study presented as a poster by Marin Taylor!